Thursday, July 12, 2012

Something To Do With The Moon - a dissection.

New song!

Inane ramblings to be found below.


Alright, I'm gonna do another long-winded breakdown of this son

General stuff about this song:

I wrote this song back at school about 4-5 years ago, all except the drums on the last 1 minute or so.  I had attempted recordings in the past, but they never went in the direction I wanted.  I've collected more experience and resources to record, so upon rediscovering the song the other day, I decided to try again.

This song was written about the time I was coming down off of a big Power Metal kick and delving more consistently into Progressive music.  The Power Metal influences are probably more particularly present in the later half of the song, but the first few minutes were very prog-rock oriented, even with a bit of a bluesy/almost classic-rock-style bit after the intro.

Specific stuff about this song:

This shouldn't be too long, as this song's a little simpler overall than most of my other songs

0:00 - 0:37 : This was actually one of the harder parts to record.  Both the main guitar part and the backing chords were really awkward to play.  The main guitar part very vaguely musically refers to some of the later lead lines in the second half of the song.

0:38 - 1:53 : One of the few times I've bothered to actually write out a solo.  Really tame and clean, but I think it fits the tone really well.  Starting at 1:22, the transition part is kinda neat.  I have a bit of counterpoint (I think that's what I'd call it) in the guitar parts

1:53 - 2:29 : Reversed guitar chords play to build up to this part, which is pretty simple, but works really well in contrast to the start of the song.  The lead guitars are panned left and right.  the left part is the one I had written for this song since the beginning, but the right one was improvised during recording.

2:30 - 3:05 : Probably the darkest-sounding riff in a fairly upbeat song.  The solo was improvised, turned out pretty decent.

3:06 - 3:41 : Back to the part before the last one, drums change up a bit.  Not much to say here.

3:42 - 4:17 : The transitional riff here is pretty fun to play.  The lead guitars continuing from the last part were improvised.  There's actually a moment of complete silence from everything in the rest before the whole band comes back it.  It took a lot of finagling to get that to sound right.  This part works pretty well as a transitional section to the Power Metal-y bits of the rest of the song.

4:18 - 4:53 : fairly basic Iron Maiden-y gallop rhythm, with piano and lead guitar paired playing the lead

4:54 - end : This is probably one of the most fun rhythm parts I've written.  I like having the piano playing the lead by itself at first, making the part when the guitar comes in with it much better.  The drums are intentionally sort of half-time at the start to avoid a bit of the power metal sound, at least until the lead guitar comes in.


Had a good bit of advice from Tim on mixing this one, but I did still do it all myself.  The guitar effects were all through Guitar Rig 4.  Most if not all were customized sounds, but pretty heavily based on some defaults.  I got good enough sounds that I didn't have to do a lot to the mixes outside of some volume mixing.  The most trouble I had was probably with the first 2 minutes.  I doubled a lot of the tracks, putting different effects on each until I got an overall sound that worked.

Most of the actual volume mixing went into the strings and piano.  Might not be incredibly noticeable, but that's the point of mixing, so I'd say that was a success.

Here's a giant picture of my screens when I'm working:

 The left half is Reaper, where all the recording is done (this screenshot was taken about 3/4 of the way through recording, there ended up being about 4 more tracks).  Most of the right half is Reason, where all of the drums, piano, bass, and strings are coming from.  This program is wired into Reaper on Track 1.  The left side of Reason is all the instruments and mixing, the upper right is the sequencer (where all the music is written).  The bottom right, half hidden by Reason is Guitar Rig, so I can hear what I'm playing live as I record.  Technically, there is another copy of this program open for each track in Reaper.  I'm a bit surprised nothing exploded.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Drawings and words.

First up, a drawing that I did for a thing on the SketchDaily subreddit.  I sort of totally ignored the goal once I got started.  The idea was to do 3 drawings of one subject at 1 minute, 10 minutes, and 30 minutes.  I rather did a 1 minute sketch, refined it for 10 minutes, refined it again for 30, and then spent way too long coloring it.

 Here's the progress drawings I submitted to the actual thread.

I didn't use any reference for this, which usually results in crap.  Granted, the proportions are a bit off in places, but for no reference I'm pretty satisfied with this.  Also, this is the first drawing that I can say has more life the more I refined it.  Most of the time, my sketches feel good, but once I clean it up, it sort of flattens out and dies a little.

A good example of that problem happening is with this fisherman I drew a while back:
Final - Especially the eyes, they look a lot less alive in this version.


And here's some sketches I did when I was trying to come up with a good figure to draw for the thread.  The barbarian kinda guy is a bit wonky.  I was going for cartoonish proportions but the end result wasn't too cartoony so it kinda ruins it.  Wizard's pose was just a bit bland.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sketchbookery - Airport peoples

Spent a lot of time in airports this past week, and I did a bit of doodling random people.  I think one or two drawings are from before the airport, but not worth making a different post.